Back when I drove a hack for a living (London – the Seventies) around 2pm, things went limp (nowadays, you can get stuff for that) so I’d take a break. More often than not, this’d involve getting a take-away from the East Finchley branch of Wimpy’s.
Now for non-Brits, I should explain that Wimpy differed from his more famous American clown brother (McD) in that his chips (french fries, not CRISPS) were non-franchise. What I mean is, if you own a McD, you can only sell THEIR chips – the spuds (potatoes) for which are grown World- wide and called “Burbank Russet” (not a lot of people know that). Thus from San Francisco to St Petersburg, all McD chips taste the same.
But if you ran a Wimpy, you could grow your own potatoes out back, have your Granny cut them into chips and fry them in monkey-fat.
Nevertheless, the East Finchley chapter of Wimpy’s sold SERIOUSLY nice chips. Cut thin and fried in Prep.
It’s amazing the difference that size, shape, age and breed of spud (allied with temperature and type of oil) can make to the taste of the humble chip. And also, how hot and long they’re kept after cooking (big chips “stew” and garner more flavour). Anyway, they were damn fine chips.
Thus it was I’d obtain m’Wimpyburger and chips, return to the Batmobile (I had a big, black saloon) and drive to a little copse I wotted of, to enjoy m’dinner. And resident in said copse was a gang of SQUIRRELS. Not those jack-booted grey ones either, but the good old British RED ones.
And they were incredibly tame. You could feed ’em bits of chip (not by hand – the little buggers’d bite you through to the BONE if you tried).
Anyhay, here in Thailand, we have our own squirrels (my wife, who’s Thai, pronounces them “screws”) and although we had a rogue one who incurred my displeasure by ripping the bark off my lime tree (I use limes in m’sauna) and killed it (I have to BUY limes now) and whom I captured in a rat-trap and repatriated some miles away, where he now rips the bark off someone ELSE’S trees – the others are welcome.
They are grey, have tails like the brushes used to clean shotguns and are highly athletic. They hang off the mango tree by their back legs, grab the birdseed tray (which I refill daily) with their front legs and chomp away.
But hey, they leave plenty for m’birds (who sit in the nearby bush, fuming impotently – no Little Brown Bird’s going to take on a SQUIRREL) so I have no quarrel with them.
Of course, they’re not as cute as those red squirrels back in Finchley. But here in Paradise, it don’t drizzle rain every damn day – so they’ll do!